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Winter 2001 Vol. 45, Number 4

Industry employment

The Bureau develops employment projections for 262 detailed industries and 10 industry divisions that make up the economy. Industry output—the level of goods and services produced—and productivity of the workforce affect employment growth.

Ships at dockIndustries with fast growth in output also tend to have fast employment growth. However, large increases in productivity—including those that are due to technology changes or
better methods of production—can result in slow employment growth or, in some cases, declines. Each worker produces more output, so fewer workers are needed. This is most apparent in industries such as mining, in which employment historically has declined from one year to the next while output climbs steadily. In service-producing industries, such as education, productivity grows more slowly because there is less opportunity for automation and a greater need for face-to-face contact with consumers.

Employment in one industry can be affected by changing practices in another. For example, the use of contractors or independent consultants has resulted in decreased employment in traditional industries, such as construction and janitorial services, but has caused employment to increase in industries such as business services.

Industries fall into either goods-producing or service-producing divisions. Goods-producing divisions include:

  • Mining

  • Construction

  • Manufacturing.

Service-producing divisions include:

  • Transportation

  • Wholesale trade

  • Retail trade

  • Finance, insurance, and real estate

  • Services, including schools and hospitals

  • Federal Government

  • State and local government.

Each division includes several major industry groups, which are in turn made up of detailed industries. For example, health services is a major group in the services division; within health services are detailed industries such as offices of physicians, medical laboratories, and private hospitals.

All data included in the following industry charts are for nonfarm wage-and-salary employment only. In contrast, employment figures in the occupational employment section cover all classes of workers: wage and salary, self-employed, and unpaid family workers.

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U.S. Department of Labor
Bureau of Labor Statistics

Last Updated: March 19, 2002